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    Conoco Caps Off "Great Year"

    Chief Executive Archie Dunham excited about proposed merger with Phillips.


    HOUSTON -- Conoco Inc. CEO Archie Dunham said yesterday that the proposed merger with Bartlesville, Okla.-based Phillips Petroleum Co completed a great year for the Houston-based oil company.

    "It was either our best, or our second best year from an earnings perspective in the history of the company,'' Dunham said during a conference call with reporters and investors, which the company dubbed as, "Afternoon with Archie."

    Dunham pointed to Conoco's acquisition of Gulf Canada during the third quarter, which was followed last month by the announced $15.6 billion Conoco- Phillips deal. If successful the merger would create the country's top refiner and third-largest oil company.

    "We are looking forward to consummating the merger with Phillips as quickly as possible," Dunham told investors. "Hopefully, we can get that done early in the second half of next year."

    Conoco already has an integration team in place and is working with Phillips officials to put a management team in place before shareholders are asked to vote on the merger, he said.

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